What The Woman Triathlete Beginner Needs To Know Before She Starts

This is a very basic guide for any ladies thinking about trying out triathlon training, if you are sitting at home wondering what you need to get going then this guide is for you.

Before enrolling in any triathlon training program, one should know the basics of triathlon and what it really is. You also need to know about the triathlete’s basic equipment that is used and also be familiar with triathlete diet requirements.

Triathlon is one of the toughest but most rewarding sports one can take up. A triathlon event involves the disciplines of swimming, cycling and running, usually completed in this order, but they can actually be in any order.

Triathlons have four different categories based on distance: Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman and Ironman.

A typical sprint distance covers 400 to 825 yards of swimming, 10 to 12 miles of cycling, and 3 miles of running.

The Olympic distance, popularly known as the “international distance”, includes twice the sprint’s distance or 1.5 Kilometres (.9 miles) of swimming, 40k (24.9 miles) of cycling, and 10k (6.2 miles) of running.

The Half-Ironman distance requires 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling, and 13.1 miles of running.

Lastly, Ironman distance is the longest triathlon event since it involves 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and 26.2 miles of running.

For most lady beginners looking at these numbers, this may seem very daunting, well have no doubt that triathlon is not for anyone who does not like a challenge or has no inner steel. On the other hand you should take heart in the fact that you are not doing these distances on day one, there is much training to be done before you can even attempt a race, I am not trying to scare anyone off, just be realistic!

As you take your first steps into any triathlon training program, make sure that you have a check-up with your Doctor, and tell her what you are going to be doing, and secondly make sure you have all the necessary basic triathlete equipment.

For a triathlon swimming training program, you need:

  • Women’s swim suit
  • Swim fins
  • Swimming paddles for strength or stroke development
  • Towel
  • Goggles
  • Swimming Cap

For cycling, the following equipment is required:

  • Women’s triathlon bike – Go to a proper store that deals with triathlete equipment, tell them you are a beginner and have a small budget, you will be surprised how helpful most other triathletes are (when not competing with you!).

    If you have no money just use your old bike that is sitting in the garage (but get it checked out by a pro first), this will do to get you going, do not let the fact that you cannot afford thousands of dollars on a bike stop you from starting, any half-decent bike will do for now to get you going.

  • Helmet – Never skimp on the helmet you buy, get the best one you can afford and get help fitting it properly from a pro. Never cycle without one – EVER!
  • Women’s triathlon clothes – You will need cycling shorts with padding, these can provide relief on hard saddles and long rides, you should also have a bike jersey that is especially made from fabric that keeps the moisture away from your body, with special pockets for food storage.
  • Padded gloves – For comfort and protection if any accidents happen.
  • Women’s cycling shoes – Make sure that they can be worn with clipless pedals, proper cycling shoes are designed so more of your power is transferred to the pedals.
  • Clipless pedals – These lock your cycling shoes into the pedal platform. You need to get used to these, so get them as soon as you can, you cannot really compete properly and safely without them.
  • A container for water so you do not dehydrate – there are many of these that fit on your bike or even on a lightweight belt or pack.

For running, you need:

  • Running shoes – Not just any old shoes, pay for specially designed running shoes, it really makes a huge difference once you start covering long distances.
  • Women’s triathlon wear – this needs to provide comfort in cold and warm conditions, and is made especially for the triathlete lady. There are many lines appearing for the woman triathlete, and they are not all overly expensive.
  • Again a water container, dehydration is not nice, if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated!
  • During triathlon training expect to undergo workouts that will use a lot of your energy. In terms of nutrition, you will need endurance sports nutrition to power your body, achieve your optimum performance and stay healthy. Therefore, you must eat quality nutrition like complex carbs and a balance of natural foods to fuel your body and aid in your fast recovery from each session.

    Sports nutrition is a science and a huge part of triathlete training, the best way to go about it without wasting hours on the Internet doing research is use an inexpensive program that guarantees your results like Shape 21, which is a complete system that gives you a book, DVD and complete food allergy-free system, and is written by a triathlete.

    Remember Nutrition is a huge weapon in the successful triathlete’s armoury, eating the right or wrong food can literally be the difference between finishing a race or training session or being stuck on the sidelines with stomach cramps, it is so important I can not overstate it!

    One thing I can tell you is forget junk food, it will destroy your training and recovery efforts, apart from the long-term effects it has on your heart and overall health, just because you can burn the calories off does not mean you should eat rubbish. Remember you can be extremely slim and still have clogged arteries and cholesterol problems, it is not exclusively the domain of the overweight and obese.

    Hopefully you now have an idea of what triathlon is and what equipment you need to get before you can start. As I said before, you do not need to max out your credit card buying the latest gear, use what you already have and shop around for the stuff you do have to buy and if in the future you find that triathlon is not for you, then you will not have broken the bank buying equipment that sits in the corner gathering dust.

    The main tip I can give you is to get up off the couch and do it now, before some mundane daily task takes over and gets in the way!